An Alaska State Trooper fatally shoots a man seen brandishing a rifle outside motel, authorities say

TOK, Alaska (AP) — An Alaska State Trooper fatally shot a man who was brandishing a rifle outside a motel early Monday in the community of Tok, authorities said.

The trooper was responding to a 911 call from the occupants of a motel room who said a man was trying to break in, according to a statement from the state Department of Public Safety. The trooper “observed an adult male brandishing an AK47 style rifle outside of the motel. Due to the adult male’s actions, the Trooper shot the adult male with their handgun,” the statement said.

The agency identified the man who died as Timothy Thomas, 21, of Northway. The name of the trooper was not immediately released. The shooting was being investigated by the Alaska Bureau of Investigation.

Based on the 911 call and the preliminary investigation, troopers believe Thomas was the person who tried breaking into the room, Austin McDaniel, a Department of Public Safety spokesperson, said by email.

In response to questions about how many shots were fired or if the occupants of the motel room knew Thomas, McDaniel said: “This is part of the active and ongoing investigation being conducted by the Alaska Bureau of Investigation.”

The trooper who fired the gun has been placed on 72 hours of administrative leave in line with Department of Public Safety policy.

Tok is near the state’s eastern border with Canada and is about 200 miles (322 kilometers) southeast of Fairbanks.